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Santa Cruz, CA drug DUI defense lawyerDriving under the influence of drugs can get a driver in as much trouble as driving under the influence of alcohol. In California, criminal charges related to the possession or sale of drugs can vary wildly, but when a person gets behind the wheel, they are likely to face serious consequences if they are intoxicated by any substance. Unlike alcohol, there is no legal limit for the amount of drugs a person can have in their system while driving, and if a drug test shows any amount of a controlled substance in a driver’s system, they may face DUI charges.  

The criminal charge of Driving Under the Influence refers to how a substance can affect a driver’s judgment and reaction time. The legal limit for a driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is .08%. For any BAC over that limit, a driver is presumed incapable of driving safely. While California law does not specify a legal limit for other drugs, including marijuana, a driver may be considered to be under the influence if they are intoxicated and unable to operate their vehicle safely. Controlled substances, prescription drugs, and even over the counter drugs can lead to a driver being considered intoxicated and charged with DUI, especially if these substances are combined with alcohol.

As with driving under the influence of alcohol, a first time offense for driving under the influence of drugs is a misdemeanor. A DUI conviction can lead to up to six months of jail time, fines well over $1,000, and driver’s license suspension for at least six months. This criminal offense will be on your record, which can be detrimental if your career requires driving in any way. 

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By John W. Thornton

dmv issues, DUI arrest, Santa Cruz criminal lawyerYes, almost certainly. We have all had our issues with DMV, these compound in the aftermath of a DUI arrest. While there are some cases that do not result in DMV hassles, they are rare. What follows is but a few examples of what to expect.

First, let me explain the change in attitude at DMV since the "administrative per se laws" went into effect in 1990. It is best summarized by what can be found on the wall in the room in the Capitola DMV Office where DMV hearings are conducted. When I first began doing DMV hearings, there was a big sign that announced your rights as someone facing license discipline: the right to an attorney, to subpoena witnesses, right to testify, etc. After a few years, this notice was pushed aside and, in its place, was placed a notice regarding what charges you can expect for threatening the hearing officer (DMV judge). Now, there is a list of items for which you can be arrested for bringing into the hearing office (firearms, knives, mace, etc.).

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